Diagnosis and assessment of wrist pain in golfers and Tennis players can be particularly disabling to this group of sportsman. Bahamians have a long tradition in enjoying these sports, including the many expats that live in these very sporting islands.. In general, upper limb Injuries in golfers and tennis players are of two major types: The less common acute injury from a poor swing, or the much more common overuse injury or exacerbation of an underlying degenerative condition. The latter frequently occurs since golf and tennis is predominantly a game with older participants and players often demonstrate the common pathologies seen in the mature population. Ironically, many of these problems are seen much earlier due to the unnatural mechanism required in the upper limb during a golf swing or tennis stroke. ECU tendonitis is generally the most common cause of ulnar sided wrist pain, or the small finger side of the wrist.
The Extensor carpi ulnaris is a big tendon on the top of the wrist which gives the athlete follow through power on a stroke. Overuse can cause tendonitis and we often see small tears, as occurred to Juan Martin Del Potro, Olympic bronze medalist, who recovered in Miami after surgical repair. This was prior to the Olympics indicating that we can all recover from injuries if seen by the right specialist. The Triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) is a cartilage structure deep in the wrist, similar to the meniscus of the knee. Tears can lead to debilitating pain and the diagnosis is difficult , even by MRI. Arthroscopy , a minimally invasive surgery using a fiberoptic camera, can not only diagnose but also repair the structure in a brief, outpatient surgery under local anesthesia.
On occasion, we may find a ligament tear of the wrist, usually the scapholunate or lunotriquetral ligaments, that need repair and possibly a temporary pinning, also all by arthroscopic means. It is critical to find a hand/wrist specialist that has particular experience in wrist arthroscopy and you can be back on the golf course or tennis court soon after recovery !! Dr. Alejandro Badia Expert Hand & Wrist Surgeon Miami, Florida